Thursday, February 4, 2016

Delhi’s Street Art Festival – Empowering thru’ Art!

By Udita Chaturvedi
Photography: Courtesy Furkan Latif Khan and Udita Chaturvedi

Amitabh Kumar's beast
Amitabh Kumar's beast

Delhi’s Street Art Festival celebrates freedom, away from ceremonious art galleries and confining four walls…  

Letting art “breathe”, 25 national and internationals artists collaborated at WIP St+art Festival at the Inland Container Depot  - the largest dry port in Asia - on the outskirts of the national capital, where they painted 100 shipping containers to create one large walk-through installation of varied art and styles.
hipster painting on container at st+art festival delhi
anpu varkey's painting on container at st+art festival delhi
Work by artist Anpu Varkey

St+art Festival, which opened on Feb. 1, and will be open every Thursday to Sunday throughout February, provides a collaborative platform for street artists from India and around the world. It focuses on the idea of ‘Art for everyone’ with the prime objective of having a positive impact on the society and reaching out to wider audiences.
Astronaut by Never Crew
Astronaut by Never Crew
conceptual art as social message at st+art festivaldelhi
conceptual art as social message

Here’s a brief round-up on select works of art: Welcoming the guests is a larger-than-life astronaut, by a Swiss duo, who call themselves Never Crew, which quickly sends the visitors into the outer space. Inside, graffiti takes various forms.
Master of Calligraffiti - Niels Shoe Meulman
Master of Calligraffiti - Niels Shoe Meulman 
Niels Shoe Meulman’s work in progress
Niels Shoe Meulman’s work in progress

Dutch calligrapher and artist, Niels Shoe Meulman’s work is mostly inspired by New York street art. Being one of the oldest among the artists participating at WIP, a marked sense of maturity characterizes his art. Powerful, “beautiful” words painted on a “dirty” background represent the world we’re living in and the somewhat chaotic life we lead. Shoe also dedicates a special wall for the names of guests, who have visited the site on Day 1 of the festival.
Amitabh  Kumar at work
Amitabh  Kumar at work

Amitabh Kumar, who often works on lines in monochrome, a massive headless beast, ready to collapse; taking his inspiration from a garbage dump (landfill) near the site, which has reached its peak and threatens to collapse any day.  
Shabbu Painter's banana at st+art festival delhi 2016
Shabbu Painter's banana

The inside of a container has the word ‘Banana’ repeatedly painted on it in bright and bold colours by Delhi-based sign painter Shabbu Painter, representing the inter-city transportation of the fruit; an animate sketch of an old Indian hipster; portrait of a young boy with an awfully expressive visage, a child painting a revolution, and a poker-faced woman are some of the other eye-catching images that abound.
Poker-faced woman at st+art festival delhi 2016
Poker-faced woman

These installations are part of a larger two-month-long urban art festival that aims to change the city’s landscape with art in public spaces (such as the prominent Lodhi Colony) through mediums such as murals, installations, performances, workshops, talks, and screenings.

WIP seems like a great initiative that is taking art away from galleries and onto the streets, making it accessible to everyone rather than a niche audience. At the same time, it’s showing the versatility and strength of street art, which is not limited to the size of a portable canvas or a few words scribbled across a wall.

The exhibition will be open every Thursday to Sunday 12 pm - 6 pm throughout February.

 Venue: ICD (Inland Container Depot) - Tughlakabad, Okhla.

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